Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tis the Season

Brrr! It is super cold here. We actually had our second snowfall of the year the other day...when we normally don't see snow until at LEAST after Christmas!
Christmas season is fully upon us. Husband and I are going tree shopping this weekend and will decorate it next week. We've got lots of present shopping that needs to get done, cards to send, family to see, parties to attend (and host). A lesser person would be overwhelmed. However, I just survived the craziest month EVER, so I'm not stressed about it. It all gets done...usually on time.
I hosted Thanksgiving this year. What the heck was I thinking? It sounded like a great idea in September! We've never had that many people over period, let alone to sit down to a full dinner. I've never cooked a turkey...ever. On top of all the stuff I was responsible for doing at church, I had several evenings full of tears. Partly because of stress, partly because we were yet AGAIN eating take-out. Maybe I was stressed BECAUSE we were eating take-out. Yeah, that's good for my heart.
Life, obviously, hasn't exactly slowed down and eating out is on the menu at least Friday, possibly tonight because of a meeting I have after work (why do I bother meal planning?) I did, however, want to take a moment to share some pictures of our Thanksgiving.
Like I said, we hosted. This meant my parents, my sister, my grandmother, Husband's parents, Husband's brother, and Husband's grandparents. Luckily, his family is close enough to come in that morning and left that evening. My parents got a hotel room. So really, we only had my grandmother and sister actually stay with us. Mister loved all the attention. So many people to beg from!

The buffet ready for the food

Mister begging

Waiting on the food

More snacking and waiting

"Need any help, Mom?"

Carving the turkey and mashing potatoes

Will sit for food

How do you resist this face?

The food is done!

Almost everyone

Find the difference

Sweet potatoes and dressing

Turkey and mac and cheese

Me with my table. Breathe a sigh of relief!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Show Me Your Life - Laundry Room

I'm going to say something not many people say. I love my laundry room. No, I REALLY love my laundry room! It's one of the few rooms that actually has a color scheme and I selected it mostly to build from for when we get to the rest of the house. In short, actual THOUGHT went into decorating this room.
Now, you're probably wondering "Seriously? Who decorates a laundry room?" Most people want to get in, get out, and be done, right? Laundry is one of the few (and I mean FEW) household chores I don't mind doing. Do I wake up on laundry day and jump on Husband and say, "It's laundry day! Hooray!!"? No. But I also mind getting up every 35-50 minutes (depending on the wash or dry cycle) and switching things out, or bringing a load into the living room to fold while I watch TV. Ironing, well, that's another story.
Anyway, our laundry room is a pass through to get from the garage into our house, but we don't actually use anything in there as the "catch-all." Our keys, my purse, etc. all live somewhere else in the house, so it's actually fairly easy to keep clean.
The pictures are a little light, as we have a fluorescent fixture in the laundry room (which will be gone once I brush up on my electrical skillz). It looks like more yellow, than green, but I promise it's a pretty light apple green. When we paint the kitchen (which connects to the laundry room), it will be a shade darker and match accessories we have in there.

The washing machine, water heater, and cleaning organizer. The washing machine and dryer were a move-in gift from our parents (all 4 of them) when we got our first apartment, which conveniently had hook-ups :)

The "folding table," which as I've said, I don't fold there, so it's where Husband's work shirts live until I get around to ironing (see the board hanging on the wall?) The only difference between today and when this picture was taken is that the dog crate is no longer there. A Mister update is sorely needed, but suffice it to say that his crate in in our bedroom and the laundry baskets are in place of the crate.

The art I did over the folding table. On the far left says "Laundry schedule: sort...later, wash...tomorrow, week, iron...get real!" I made it (and it's counter-part on the right) out of scrapbook paper and a frame I ordered online (since 12x12 isn't really standard i.e. cheap). The one on the right says "Laundry today or naked tomorrow!" Teeheehee! In the middle is a print I ordered from It cost a whopping $0 thanks to gift cards I had earned through Swagbucks (ask me how you can get Swagbucks, and yes, I promise it's NOT a scam!)

My biggest accomplishment in the laundry room was lowering the shelf that was above our washer and dryer. I stand at a statuesque 4'8" so reaching over the machines and getting the bins without anything falling on me just didn't happen. I can now get a good firm grip on the bins (or basket, which is what the detergent lives in) and lower it without getting a concussion...or breaking anything. It will most likely have to be raised whenever we move, but that won't be soon, so I'm making my house livable! Of course, now we have a huge open space OVER the shelf that I'm trying to figure out how to fill...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Show Me Your Life - Bathrooms

Today's installment of Kelly's Show Me Your Life is bathrooms. We have 2 full baths. Our first apartment together had 2 baths and that came in handy more than once (sometimes you just can't wait), so one requirement when we were shopping was at least 1.5 baths.

This is our guest bath. It's nothing super exciting, tub/shower combo, toilet, and single vanity. There is a small linen closet on the right side, hiding behind the door, which is pretty handy. This bathroom is outfitted with all the bathroom stuff we got for our wedding (basically because it's the bathroom that required a shower curtain and our wedding set was newer). Unfortunately, that meant the soft, fluffy towels went in there as well. We're slowly working on getting nice ones in the master though!

Speaking of the master, here it is!

Double vanity, something our apartment didn't have and I now can't live without!

Garden tub and stand-alone shower (to the right, just outside of the picture).

The neatest part about the master is that the toilet has its own little room. I can do my business in peace while Husband brushes his teeth or whatever. There is also a linen closet directly across from the toilet.

I have just one question. Can anyone give me a logical reason for the towel bar over the toilet? Clearly our sink is in the other section and I'm certainly not wiping my hands on a towel BEFORE they get washed (just ew). Why is it there? Whenever we get around to painting, it will come down and be donated to Habitat Restore or Goodwill or someplace unless I get one logical reason as to why I should keep it there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Show Me Your Life-Guest Rooms

I've been on hiatus the past couple of weeks from Kelly's Show Me Your Life series. Mostly because it's been the office (which I'm not a huge fan of, decor wise. I'm just uninspired for it) and kids rooms (which we don't have any kids, therefore no kids rooms!). But this week is guest rooms and I LOVE ours! We've put a lot of work into it and I think it's turning out pretty special.

This is our guest bed. My dad built the night stands from this Knock-Off Wood design. I supervised one of them, mostly to learn about using a nail gun. My observations paid off because not only did I build the console table I shared a little while ago, but I also built the headboard! The headboard is from this Knock-Off Wood plan, except I ONLY built the headboard part. We have a frame already and I didn't really want the footboard.

Better look at the headboard

And a close-up of the nightstand. Forgive the blurry, yellow tinge. I am NOT a photographer, so I don't know how to adjust for different lighting.

Opposite from the bed is a dresser and quilt with stand. The stand was a Christmas present last year, so I had a better way of displaying the quilt. This quilt is pretty special. My great-aunt's great aunt handmade this quilt when she was in her 80s. It laid on the bed of my great-aunt (who was more of my grandmother, but that's a long story) and was one of the things she brought from home to her nursing home. It was on our guest bed for a time, but I was always worried something would happen to it.
The dresser also has a story. My several-times-great grandmother used this as her suitcase. She had, I think, 6 kids that she lived with for 2 months at a time. She would just load her dresser on the back of the wagon and haul it to the next house. My parents held it in their guest room for a while and when I mentioned I'd like to have it "one day" they brought it up!

All that's left for this room is to hang curtains, get a duvet for our duvet cover (we did that a little bass-ackwards, but that's ok!), and I have a short list of small accessories (like an old fashioned alarm clock) to get.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Show Me Your Life - Kitchen

I've been caught now. The kitchen is one of a handful of rooms that I haven't done much of anything to. Actually, some of the photos I'm posting are from when we moved in! But that's OK. I have plans. I just need some cash-ola, then some time to actually do what I want.

Sink area (move-in picture--it hasn't changed and the sink is a disaster right now!)

Opposite of the sink

Breakfast nook. Please excuse the tape of the floor--our builder came through for a one-year inspection and we had some grout replaced. Also, excuse Mister's tail :)

Butler's pantry, a.k.a. the bar. You'd think we drank a whole lot more than we actually do to see this picture (especially if I opened the cabinets!)

Being a new construction home, we got to pick pretty much everything except the cabinets (which had already been ordered when we came along). Luckily, we liked them! We got to pick the tile for our back splash, the sink faucet, and our appliances. We also got to pick all of our lighting fixtures, but we chose to save money and just go with the basic already included package. Mostly because we knew we could buy different fixtures for less and install ourselves (which is what we did with the ceiling fans). However, honestly, I don't really mind any of our light fixtures. I'd like to eventually get rid of the fluorescent light in the laundry room. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy. The one thing I WOULD like to do with the lights is change the shades over the table. Lowes sells what I want for pretty reasonable (compared the the cost of replacing the fixture itself).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

My First Project

At long last, the stars have aligned and I actually got the console table I built decorated. This was my first foray into building something with power tools. And I still have all my limbs! I found the plan at Knock-Off Wood. Dad loaned (and has since gifted) me his nail gun and air compressor and Husband found a deal of the day on Amazon for a miter saw 50% off. I also had some gift cards saved up, so this project cost about $100, for power tools and lumber. When I went to by lumber, the total came at $70, but I was buying for two separate projects (the other of which will get revealed in a little bit). My point in all that rambling is that, assuming you have the basic
power tools, this project would probably cost about $30.

Building: The directions were very clear about what goes where and how to attach it. Ana includes pictures for each step, which is great for us visual learners! However, I recommend NOT resizing the pictures to print. In trying to save paper, I made the pictures too small and couldn't really see what I was supposed to do. As a result, the bottom support isn't attached where it is supposed to be. I was wondering why some of my pieces were too long! I think it still turned out OK.
Also, make sure you take a tape measure with you to Lowe's (or be prepared to do some math BEFORE you start). My 1x12 actually measured 11", therefore, when I went to attach the top (the very last step--ARGH!), I had a half inch sticking out from the bottom on each side. Since I don't have a circular saw (yet), I had to cut 2-6" pieces the old fashioned way and sanded it almost even. You can only tell by looking directly over it, so I think I'm good. Also, because I had to cut apart my 1x12, I cut out the last step for the top top. I don't think it suffered!

Finish: I stained it in Minwax walnut and used 2 coats of Minwax polyurethane semi-gloss.

I've actually since bought a buffet lamp, but here's the table in all of its glory! I'd love to get a fall table runner, but I think the sideboard in the dining room may win out on getting that first.

Thank you so much, Ana, for giving average people with small budgets the confidence to create nice things themselves. Despite the issues (which were all noob mistakes), I had a blast building this and look forward to working on the Rustic Modern Console table for our entry way (as well as plenty of other projects)!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Show Me Your Life - Dining Room

A long time ago, I mentioned I painted the dining room RED. I never got around to posting pictures because we took our sweet time buying furniture. It's still not decorated as well or as much as I'd like, but it's another room that's so close to finished, I don't feel bad participating once again in Kelly's Show Us Your Life series.

Our side board with tea cups and saucer

Our beautiful wedding china on display

The whole room (an part of the butler's pantry) today, mostly decorated

The whole room from another angle.

I still want something on the wall over the side board. A rug would be nice. And the candle sticks don't really fit the color scheme of the house (I promise I do actually have one), but my grandmother bought them on her trip to Latvia in 2007, her first since WW II. They're a little special :)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Puppy Dog

I have been remiss. Oh my goodness. How I have let this drag on for so long, I have no idea! A little while (ok, like 2 posts and 3 months ago), I mentioned we adopted a four-legged bundle of joy. We're almost 3 months into this whole dog-parent thing (don't be surprised when I refer to him as "puppy." He's not. He's just too cute to not call him my puppy) now and that lone post remains the only evidence of Mister in our lives :(.
We've had an...interesting time so far! We've had to deal with separation anxiety, so if y'all have any tips, let them roll! Consequently, we've been working with a behaviorist. Becoming confident leaders has been tough, but he's catching on to not being first and not getting attention because he's asking for it. We still struggle with his constant barking when he's in his crate and I'm gone (I'm the one he's attached to), though. Our trainer keeps reminding us that "Separation anxiety is a marathon, not a sprint." The goal is to have him be able to stay home after Christmas when I head to Ohio for a wedding and Husband stays home. That gives us 3 months. Sigh. Start praying now!
Don't get me wrong! When we're home, Mister is the sweetest thing. He loves his weekend belly rubs and ear scratches. He never barks at other people or animals. He's perfectly content to lay around and sleep all day. We're in love and we're trying our best to help him understand he's a keeper!
Enough words though. This little boy is too cute to not post a zillion pictures!

Our first family portrait, while on vacation in Canada

Helping Dad play his video games

"I love having my neck and belly scratched!

Enjoying the back yard

Naturally, as Halloween approaches, we will have super-adorable pictures of Mister in his costume. Not sure what he'll be yet. Husband has his heart set on Batman, but Target was sold out in stores and I don't really want to pay shipping for it. I might have to DIY Batman.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Show Me Your Life- Master Bedroom

Once again, I write my apologies. I promise I've been working on some projects. One is technically done, but I want to finish decorating it before I show it off. Don't worry, I just need a lamp. Too bad they're freakin' expensive!

Anyway, one of the blogs I read is starting up a home tour for "Show Me Your Life" every Friday. First up is the master bedroom. Luckily, this is one of the most finished rooms in our house, so I figured now was a great time to get involved is this as well as jumping back on the blogging wagon :)

So without further adieu, here's our master bedroom:

Obviously, this is our bed. All of our bedroom furniture came from Wal-Mart, of all places! It's surprisingly high quality and was extremely affordable. We asked for the nightstands for Christmas one year just to test it out. They ship for free site-to-store. My mom took advantage of this for the Christmas night stands, but we opted for delivery for the other pieces. No way were they going to fit in our cars!

This is Husband's dresser (which I'm trying to figure out how to steal for myself). The only complaints we have about our furniture are on this dresser--the drawers are a little snug. I could probably sand down the openings, but haven't gotten around to it.

This is my dresser (which I want to trade with for Husband's). I'm short and this dresser is not! I'd like to see what's sitting on top. Anyways, we also have a little reading area, even though most of our reading actually happens in the bed. This pictures on the wall are a cross-stitch prayer my grandmother made us for a wedding gift (which ended up being a first anniversary gift, but that doesn't make it less special)! In the middle is a Native American marriage blessing Husband's uncle gave for Christmas one year. Finally, we have a signature mat from our wedding with an engagement picture. We opted for a signature mat instead of a guest book just so we could be reminded of our loved ones all the time. Plus, we are rapidly running out of room on our book shelf!

So that's essentially our master bedroom. Nothing fancy and not completely done, but it suits us and it's a relaxing place to be at night!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not a Real Update

One of these days I'll post a real update. I'm sure everyone wants to see some Mister! For now, this post is just so I can copy some pictures to a program so I can do a little decorating online before I start drilling into brick and digging up plants ;) Now you're really curious, huh? Let's just say this weekend has produced a nail gun and air compressor(not for keeps, but for borrows), so I'll have a few other updates.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So, remember how I mentioned I got motivated to fix up the laundry room due to "the impending arrival of a four-legged, furry friend?" Well, you were probably too caught up in my use of alliteration to think about what that meant. Meet Mister:

He's an about 5 year old Jack Russell mix. So far, he's pretty low-key which matches our lifestyle pretty nicely. We brought him home yesterday and seems to be settling in.
We're still working on making our yard essentially inescapable (and being a little perturbed at the fence people but that's another story), so we're not letting him out without a leash. Luckily, he's very good with it!
Just wanted to share our new bundle of joy ;)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Laundry Room

I finally got around to working on the laundry room. I had lofty goals, so it took awhile for me to get motivated...and to find time to actually get it all done! Turns out the impending arrival of a particular four-legged furry friend was all the motivation I needed (as the laundry room will be his temporary bedroom).

What I did: Painted, lowered the shelf over the washer/dryer, did a little DIY artwork/ shopping

Art, folding table, and ironing board

Me reaching our new shelf! I subscribed to my mom's theory of home decorating/renovating which is do things for you and your everyday life. When we go to sell, the shelf will likely need to be raised back, as your average home buyer is NOT 4'8". But this is for ME, NOW.

Another view of our new shelf.

Now all we need is something for the suddenly expansive area over the shelf! Any ideas?